Koshtapa Canal can bring Afghanistan an average of $500 mln annually

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The commissioning of the Koshtapa (Kush-Tepa) Canal will bring Afghanistan an average income of $500 million annually. Afghan water management expert Najibullah Sadid stated this in a comment to Tolonews, Asia-Plus.tj reports.

'Kush-Tepa and all its auxiliary canals, after the completion of construction, can bring Afghanistan an annual income of $470 to $550 million,' said Sadid.

According to experts, with the completion of this canal's construction, Afghanistan will achieve self-sufficiency in wheat production, and the country's economy will experience significant progress.

The National Development Corporation of Afghanistan reported that the construction of the water intake facility of the Koshtapa Canal has progressed by 50%, and the progress in earthworks in the second phase is 30%.

The cost of earthworks in the second phase of the canal construction, which is expected to reach the Andkhoy district in Faryab province by the end of the year, is estimated at 20 billion afghanis (over $283 million).

The Koshtapa Canal has been under construction since March 2022. Afghanistan has stated that it is necessary to irrigate 555 thousand hectares of infertile areas in northern Afghanistan to grow wheat and sunflower there.

The canal will originate in the Kaldar district of Balkh province, bordering Uzbekistan, and pass through Jawzjan province to the Andkhoy district of Faryab province. Its length will be 285 km, and its width 100 m.

Uzbekistan authorities have repeatedly expressed concern that the canal will have an adverse impact on the country’s agriculture.

According to specialists, Koshtapa will also exacerbate the Aral Sea disaster by diverting water from the Amu Darya River.

The international environmental coalition Rivers without Boundaries warned that the commissioning of the canal would be a blow to the water supply of all countries in the Amu Darya basin.

Upon completion, the Koshtapa Canal will be able to divert about 20% of the Amu Darya River’s flow to irrigate Afghanistan's agricultural lands, and its impact on the summer low-water period of the Amu Darya will be exacerbated by the flow redistribution from the Rogun Hydroelectric Station, being built upstream in Tajikistan.

In September 2023, at the summit of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed involving Afghanistan in a regional dialogue on the joint use of water resources. In response, Abdul-Latif Mansur, head of the water resources and energy ministry in the Taliban government, stated that the current Afghan authorities are not bound by any agreements regarding water withdrawal from the Amu Darya.

In mid-October of that year, the Taliban announced the completion of the first section of the canal and the start of the second phase of the project. They asked the countries in the region, especially Uzbekistan, not to worry about the canal and stated that they are ready to address issues 'through diplomatic channels.

CentralasianLIGHT.org

June 6, 2024